Time to buy a bike? Motorists lose a billion hours to road delays each year

UK motorists lose over one billion hours on the road due to on-road delays, with almost 40 hours lost per person

smart motorways

New data has emerged revealing the extent of road delays in the UK, with more than one billion hours lost to road delays by motorists in England over the course of a year.

The data is taken from 2022, and comes from the Department for Transport (DfT), analysed by Go.Compare, which took the average road delay per vehicle mile and spread that over the total number of registered vehicles, and was published by the RAC. Data from both the strategic road network - which includes major motorways and A-roads - and that from local A-roads was used. The latter proved more costly in terms of time. 

On average, the study found a motorist in England loses 38 hours per year to road delays, and 31 of these would be on local A-roads and local authority motorways. In comparison, motorways and A-roads managed by National Highways cost motorists around six hours per year.

In total, though, the RAC says that the “amount of time lost to delays by all drivers during a year is 55 million days, equal to 1.3 billion hours.” If that’s not a good reason to buy a motorcycle and benefit from the joys of filtering, we don’t know what is. 

Alice Simpson, breakdown spokesperson at the RAC, says the road delays are down to high volumes of traffic. She said: “While we’re pleased National Highways has removed the majority of roadworks from high-speed roads, which are often the busiest routes, the sheer number of drivers means there’s an increased risk of breakdowns which can, in turn, lead to delays.”

Simpson also suggested people prepare for delays before heading out on long journeys. She said: “We urge motorists to be prepared for longer journeys before they set out by checking their car’s oil and coolant levels and packing items they might need if they are unlucky enough to break down.

“Essentials include extra warm, waterproof layers, sturdy footwear, some food and drink and a fully charged mobile phone with an extra power bank to keep it topped up.”

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